Browse Category: Cultural Observations

A Little Language, Culture and History

Being overseas for work this week has reminded me most about one thing: diversity matters.

Not just accepting peoples’ viewpoints as valid or fact, but remembering that we all come from different backgrounds and places… and that’s okay.

I’ve spent a week in my company’s global headquarters this week, and while it’s not in the heart of London, it is very diverse. Living where I live in the States, I miss out on the languages, cultures and history that I am able to experience here.

In the matter of a day, I hear German, Spanish, Italian, French, Swedish, and Portuguese spoken in the office. Truthfully, that is only the tip of the iceberg as there are many more languages heard on the streets. On top of that, this is not even London — where I would imagine would be where I’m at times 10!

This.

Upon arrival, I spent an afternoon doing my own “London-in-a-Day” micro-trip. Short, but sweet — History and culture jam-packed into my own little 7-hour mini-adventure!

As I still process some of the things I heard at The Orange Conference last week, I am reminded about the importance of relaying these experiences to my own children. Living where we live (suburban ATL), it is easy to stay put and interact with those similar. It could be months before you hear another language spoken… and I’m not sure how I feel about that. In a sense, I feel compelled to make sure I intentionally put my kids in situations where they are exposed to other people, cultures, languages, etc.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” (Gal 3:28)

And not just to give them a “good experience”, but to ultimately show them that we are all the same — as JFK said, “…our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air.” And in the end, we are all in need of the same great God.

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Where have you experienced the most “diversity/culture” in your own life?

Living It Out

I read a story the other day about an an atheist in Texas who was ‘flabbergasted’ by an outpouring of generosity from local-area Christians. Check out the story here. It was encouraging thing to hear about: Christians living out the gospel.

So often we get caught up in the back-and-forths and play the acceptance game.

I’ve done it before – plenty of times. You know the drill… Withholding an ‘action’ because of what others will say about you. Holding a grudge because someone has a different view. Refrained generosity because we’re scared of what the future may hold.

Whatever our reasoning may look like, we are still called to “act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God“.

True?

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How can you ‘live out’ your faith today?

Kony 2012

“KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

This video went viral yesterday and let me say something: it is worth setting aside 30 minutes to watch it in it’s entirety.

You can’t help but be moved by the message and mission of this organization. As a father of three small children, I wholeheartedly echo what they believe: Every. Life. Matters.

For more information, visit: www.kony2012.com

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If you watched, what are your thoughts?

ddiamond

Look Who I Know!

While I wasn’t buddy-buddy with Samuel Powers, I did go to elementary school with him for a couple years. So, okay… I don’t know him.

But yes… he my one claim-to-fame in living in SoCal for 13 years growing up. Oh that, and meeting MacGyver at an LA Kings game. Or Ryan Seacreast in Hollywood.

Who am I kidding? I’m practically a D-list celebrity with this Who’s Who list of  ‘friends’ I have!

::transition::

Confession: no real spiritual insight coming out of this post.

The end.

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What ‘celebrities’ have you met?
Who would you like to meet?

The Big Picture

One of my favorite websites to frequent is The Big Picture — a picture blog run through the Boston Globe. It is a fantastic site that tells stories through pictures.

Sometimes they chronicle a major world event like the Japan earthquake; other times it’s a lesson in history, like the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl.

Today, they feature some harrowing pictures from the earthquake that devastated Haiti. In fact, today marks the two-year anniversary of the catastrophic event that caused major damage across the poor, Caribbean nation.

Photo credit: United Nations Photo (Creative Commons)

Although the exact number is undetermined, the estimated death toll was over 220,000. Most believe that number to be much higher.

Along with the human life toll, the infrastructure damage was tragic. It was believed that even one-year after the quake over one million refugees lived in tent cities. Can you imagine? Right now I can’t.

Coincidently, in light of this anniversary, I am eager to share that Jen and I will be going to Haiti for a week early April. We were asked to host a high-school student trip with our church, working alongside of Compassion International.

We’re excited and nervous at the same time.
We’re ready for God to move in the hearts of these students.
We’re expectant for God to show us more of the big picture.  

As I receive more information, I’ll certainly share how you can pray for us, the students going on the trip, and the people we will be working with in Haiti.

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Have you ever traveled internationally? On missions?
Have you ever experienced an earthquake?

Bless The Lord, O My Soul

There are songwriters/worship leaders who get it. And I believe Matt Redman gets it.

That said, I have always been a fan of Matt Redman.

When I lead worship in college at our campus ministry, I was drawn to his songs because I felt we had similar tones – it was just ‘easy’ for me to lead in the key he wrote his songs in.

Then I dug into the lyrics and read the stories behind his songs. There was a reason why his songs (The Heart of Worship, Better is One Day, Let Everything That Has Breath, Blessed Be Your Name, etc.) resonate with me–they are straightforward and speak to God’s character. As I listen, I’m constantly reminded that the focus is God, not us.

The latest that has been on repeat in my playlist is “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”.

It has a modern, yet reverent feel to it. I hope it blesses you as it has me.

As you can see on the far right, this track has been on repeat!

It has reminded me that no matter the circumstance or situation, His name is to be praised.

“Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

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What song has been speaking to you lately?

We Made It

It’s that time of year – when we get introspective to reflect on what went right, what went wrong; what we loved, what made us sad.

As you remember what went on around us in 2011 (in the world), you can see from the video there were many highs and lows. In the end, like the video concludes with: we made it.

Personally, the same rings true for me: this blog was launched; I got a new jobHarper was born; We had an unforseen diagnosis; Jen and I celebrated 6 years together; Hit a new low in getting a speeding ticket; Climbed a mountain; Hit a wall; Ran a half-marathon with Jen; and Got furious at a Honey Baked Ham store.

Regardless of my circumstances, I’m reminded that my identity in Christ transcends all of that. Yes, I may have ups and downs — but I’m grateful that God stays the same. His view of me (redeemed, child, new creation, etc.) will never change.

In light of that, here’s to a memorable 2011 and an even better 2012!

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What was your favorite memory from this past year?

Let Me Get What I Want

I saw this video the other week and thought it was fantastic–in fact, quite possibly the best one a half minutes you’ll watch all week.

It tells a tale of a little boy as he anxiously waits for Christmas to come. Few words, but storytelling at it’s finest. And then couple in the cover of The Smiths’ classic “Please Please Please”Brilliant!

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When you were a child, what was your favorite gift you received?

Hollywood and the Parent/Child Relationship

My wife and middle daughter were visiting family last week in Denver, which meant it was Daddy Weekend with myself and the other two. We jumped; we laughed; we ate candy. We had fun! I missed them for sure, but I also had a blast spending some intentional time with just my oldest and youngest daughters.

When my wife is gone, usually the one thing you can count on is me catching up on TV shows and movies. What else am I going to do after the kids go down at 8:30? Plus, my wife probably isn’t going to want to watch The Walking Dead with me. I don’t get it — what’s not to like about a zombie apocalypse filmed in our very city of Atlanta?!

As I was catching up on some of this summer’s movies, I noticed a common theme in each and every one: the relationship between a parent/child often plays out to be the most important.

In every, single movie there was a pivotal scene where the father said/did something that impacted the young child’s life, or where the relationship between the two was strained for some reason. Seriously, like every single movie.

Photo credit: Dr. Nomad (Creative Commons)

The movies I watched this weekend (The Green Hornet, Super 8, and Fast Five) reminded me that the relationship between myself and my daughters is built over time. It will, no doubt, face obstacles and hardships, but one thing remains: I am uniquely suited and charged to lead and speak life into their lives. If you’ve seen any of those, you probably know what I’m talking about.

  • Britt Reid (in The Green Hornet) was severely impacted by the way his father specifically treated him after a school incident when he was a young boy.
  • Joe Lamb (the main 14-year old boy in Super 8) learned quickly that the relationship he had with his father changed as a result of a unsuspecting accident.
  • Brian O’Connor and Dom Toretto (in Fast Five) shared a moment where they reflected on their own fathers–how one was completely absent, and another was completely present.

Even the one I watched with my 4 year-old (Mulan) was a perfect example. Mulan’s father concludes the film by saying, “The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter.” Talk about speaking life into your child!

To top it off: as a bonus, Jon Acuff tweeted this little gem yesterday.

As I reflect on my long weekend with these two girls, I want it to be marked by more than chewy candy and slippery slides. I want them to know without a doubt that their Daddy will always love and be there for them. I want them to know I am praying specifically for a passion to be sparked inside of them to know and honor their heavenly Father. I want to take every single word and action captive so my life serves as a reflection of the grace and love God gives each one of us — and specifically speak that into their young lives.

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What parent/child movie scene has resonated with you?

God Never Left Me

When you have five minutes today, watch the following video: The Story of Harlee Lowder.

In it, she shares her story–one of a surprising divorce, gut-wrenching pain, and a traumatic event that changed her life.

Despite all that happened, she knew God never left her (her exact words!).

Wow.

That is great in theory, but would I be able to say the same if something like that happened me?

Multiple times in Scripture we are reminded that God will never leave us (Deut 31:8; Josh 1:5Heb 13:5).

Let us remember today that God’s word does not return voidHis word is truth.

And like Harlee reminded us: No matter the situation, He is there for you.

HT: POTSC

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When have you clung to God’s truth even when your circumstance was telling you otherwise?

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